Multiple stampedes occurred in different districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) province, resulting in one man’s death and several injuries, as the provincial caretaker government launched a free flour distribution campaign for the month of Ramadan. The incident took place in Charsadda district, where a stampede broke out in the main bazaar during the distribution of free flour, leading to the death of a man named Sher Afzal and injuries to three others, including a woman. Witnesses stated that the stampede occurred after some individuals fell on the ground.
In another incident, a man died and four others were injured when the boundary wall of a flour mill in Bannu collapsed on them. The distribution of free flour was also scheduled to take place at this mill. An official said that the incident occurred after a truck hit the wall near the main entrance, leading to the collapse of the wall and the burial of the individuals under the debris. The deceased was identified as Gul Khan, aged 65.
Moreover, the police baton-charged a crowd at a distribution point in the Gumbat area of Kohat district, injuring several people, including women. The injured were immediately shifted to a nearby hospital. Flour bag snatching and scuffles also occurred at the only two distribution points established in the district, serving a population of 2.5 million. This resulted in a protest by hundreds of individuals who blocked the Kohat-Gumbat section of the Kohat-Rawalpindi Road for several hours, complaining about the difficulties they faced while waiting for their share of free flour.
Following these incidents, the deputy commissioner of Charsadda district announced a probe into the stampede, while the assistant commissioner of Kohat district admitted to “mismanagement” during the flour distribution and promised to increase the number of distribution points to 30. The caretaker government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa had earlier announced the provision of free flour to over 5.7 million deserving families in the province, worth PKR 19.77 billion. The distribution exercise was supposed to be carried out in a transparent and trouble-free manner, but these incidents indicate that the authorities need to improve their arrangements to avoid such incidents in the future.